[fusion_text]Solar energy offers some very big benefits—it gives you the opportunity to reduce, or even eliminate, your power bill, take advantage of tax credits, and make use of a clean energy source.
Once you’ve decided to explore a solar solution for your home, start by researching and reading reviews of solar energy installation companies. And be sure to educate yourself about some of the most frequently asked questions before going solar.
1. How much will solar panels cost?
According to California Solar Statistics, systems under 10 kilowatts cost, on average, $5.29 per watt. Since the typical home system produces four kilowatts of power, we can calculate an average cost of $21,160.
Of course, every project is different, and the costs of solar panels, installation, and permits can vary significantly based on the size of the project. A reputable, knowledgeable solar panel installer will asses your current energy usage, as well as your planned usage, and develop a project estimate that suits your family’s needs—and your budget.
2. How much will a solar panel installation reduce my electricity bill?
It is possible to eliminate your electricity bill entirely by installing solar panels. However, your total savings will depend on the number of panels you install and your overall energy use. In some cases, it’s not possible to install enough panels to wipe out your bill completely. And even with solar energy, you’ll likely still pay nominal fees to be connected to the utility’s power grid.
Your solar energy installation specialist should offer suggestions for boosting your home’s energy efficiency before you install a solar system. Replacing old single-pane windows with energy-efficient double-paned windows, installing an attic exhaust fan, and increasing insulation can all help reduce your energy use. And when you use less energy at the outset, you may be able to install a smaller, less costly solar panel system, while still eliminating your bill, or at least reducing it significantly.
3. Can I get a tax credit for installing solar panels?
Yes—for now. If you purchase a solar panel system for your home, you can claim a Solar Investment Tax Credit of 30 percent of the amount paid for the solar panel equipment on your federal tax return. However, in order to qualify, your solar panel system must be placed in service before December 31, 2016.
The Solar Energy Industries Association offers a helpful fact sheet that explains the basics of the Solar Investment Tax Credit.
Depending on your location, you may also be eligible for additional credits and incentives. For example, the County of San Diego’s Green Building Incentive Program waives building permit and plan check fees for residential solar panel systems on qualifying projects. And Riverside County offers Residential Photovoltaic Rebate Program for qualifying solar panel projects.
Note that to receive these credits and incentives, you must purchase your solar panel system. Leased systems and power-purchase agreements will not qualify.
4. How long will my solar panel system last? What sort of maintenance is required?
Solar panels are highly reliable. You can expect them to last 25 years or more. As solar panels age, they do lose some of their efficiency, but it’s unlikely for a panel to ever fail completely. Solar panel manufacturers tend to offer lengthy warranties. In addition, a reputable solar installation company will provide a warranty for the installation.
Solar panel maintenance is minor. You simply need to keep your panels clear of dirt and debris. That means hosing off the panels occasionally, keeping tree branches trimmed so they don’t throw too much shade on the panels, and clearing away fallen leaves as needed.
5. Does going solar really make a difference to the environment?
Yes. By switching to solar energy, you reduce reliance on fossil fuels, which increase the risk of climate change. According to the EPA, power plants fired by fossil fuels are responsible for 70 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions in the United States, as well as 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.
But for most homeowners, the main benefit of going solar comes from the overall savings on their energy bills. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
At RC Energy Solutions, we specialize in smart home improvements, powered by the sun. We have more than 20 years of industry experience, and we will deliver a complete solar energy solution, including engineering, site design, and technical planning, to fit your budget.
Ready to go solar? Contact the experts at RC Energy Solutions now for your free, no-hassle consultation.